Style

How to Dress Your Bridesmaids

02.22.15

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(View full post on Darling Magazine.)

So he finally popped the question, and it’s only been a few weeks and you’re already in full Wedding Planning mode!  For those of you who aren’t married or are unfamiliar with the wedding world, wedding planning is almost a full-time job.  It can be extremely overwhelming when you consider:  this will probably be the biggest party you’ll ever throw and everyone has their opinion to add as to how it should happen, where it should happen, how much money should or shouldn’t be spent, etc.  Not to mention the endless traditional expectations of hosting a wedding.

Now I should mention that I am single, but I have been a bridesmaid 15 times, and I have been a wedding photographer for 6 years.  So it’s safe to say I have been around the block a few times!

Before you curl up in a corner and cry (please don’t do that), be encouraged by this:  it is 2015 and this is your wedding!  You get to create a wedding that first and foremost reflects the love of you and your partner.  Let yourself off the hook in regards to trying to please everyone, because it is simply not possible.  The quicker you can do that the quicker you can enjoy this process!

There are a lot of things we could talk about, but let’s start with Bridesmaid Dresses!  I cannot tell you how many of my brides have spent endless hours looking for that perfect shade in that perfect silhouette that will look good on 8 different women.

Here’s the secret:  there typically is not one color or one silhouette that will look good on everyone.  Let go of the old tradition, and embrace the new tradition of choosing a color palette and allowing your bridesmaids to choose a dress that best suits their bodies.

 

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Why is this a good idea?

  • This will save so much time.  It can be hard to let go of control with your wedding, because every detail can seem like such a huge deal.  From someone who has photographed hundreds of weddings, I can promise you that no one really remembers what the bridesmaids wear, let alone what color their fingernails are, or whether or not they have matching shoes.  Getting hung up on details like this can really steal the joy from the process of wedding planning.  It is ok to let go,and trust your closest friends to choose dresses that not only flatter their figures, but that you will love as well. There are even multiple gown designers that offer beautiful dresses in the same color palette in different silhouettes.  Some of my favorite are:  Adrianna Papell and Amsale.
  • Gone are the days when you wear a purse to match your shoes (who does that anymore).  You can actually create an effortlessly cohesive look with different styles of gowns.  Take for example the wedding below.  My best friend just got married, and she sent us all paint swatches with a color palette, and said to pick a long gown in the ‘Champagne’ color family, and have it be floor length.  Though all of our dresses our different they came together flawlessly, and at the end of the day most of us truly are able to recycle and wear the dress again for another event.
  • Along with the above comment allowing your bridesmaids to choose a dress that best suits their body is a great way to honor their budget.  Let’s face it as amazing as it is to be asked to be in your best friends wedding; it also can be very expensive.  (A few years ago, I spent over $2,500 on being in weddings!).  As friends it is our joy to throw showers, and give the bride the experience she desires and deserves.  However, It can be hard to spend several hundred dollars on a dress that you don’t look good in, and will never wear again, and that you probably cannot resell.  One of the wonderful things about giving a color palette to your bridesmaids is that they are much more likely to find a dress that they actually really love and will be able to wear again!

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You’ve got the color palette, now how to choose the dress:

  • Before shopping set your budget.  Whether it’s $75 or $250, stick with your price range and don’t allow yourself to try on dresses above your price range.  What can happen is you try on the $500 dress that is way out of your price range, and then anything else that you try on in your price range will feel second rate.  Your overall experience will be disappointing.  (This tidbit came from a manager of the world famous wedding gown salon Kleinfelds)  The employees will not allow you to even try on a dress outside of your price range for this very reason!
  • Know your body.  This may take some research. For a general rule of thumb if you are well endowed stay away from strapless dresses (the last thing you want is to be pulling up your dress all night).  A great alternative is a halter or one strap dress.  For athletic figures A-line and empire waists.  For an hourglass shape a wrap dress accentuates your curves.  Nordstrom has a great online resource for body types HERE.  Most importantly make sure that you feel beautiful in the dress.  If it’s a little snug, or no matter how many people say it looks great if you don’t feel great in the dress it doesn’t matter.
  • Try try try again.  Make an appointment at a store, and ask for a personal shopper.  Stores like JCrewNordstrom, and even Anthropologie will set aside dresses in your color palette if you call ahead, and they’ll even help accessorize your look.  Often times the dress we like best on the rack isn’t what we end up going with.  It can be that unexpected dress on the rack that you don’t really like that sometimes ends up being the winner!  Be open minded, and try on lots of dresses!  That way in the process you can find what styles look best on you so you’ll be better prepared next time!

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All in all remember it is ok to let go of some traditions.  Figure out what is important to you and your fiancé, and be open and flexible with other aspects of your wedding and trust your bridesmaids that they will look amazing on your special day!

XO,

Kat

All photos by:  Kayla Adams

Inspiration / News / Style

Why I go to Fashion Week

02.20.15

 

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See the full article on Darling Magazine.

February New York Fashion Week is not for the faint of heart. This week the temperature in New York City is hovering between 5 and 15 degrees, which means the only place I want to be is at home in my yoga pants and Uggs, sipping hot tea.

But Fashion Week brings out the crazy, the committed, and the creative.

 

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I am headed to my first show for this season’s New York Fashion Week. Being that it’s disgustingly cold outside the last thing I want to do is leave my warm apartment. But my love of creativity and fashion pushes me fervently out the door.

Although the streets are filled with black ice, I tentatively walk through the streets in my 3 inch heels, leather pants, and cute (but not warm) jacket. Three quarters of a miles and two trains later I arrive at Milk Studio for the Marissa Webb show.

The show starts at 3:00p.m. and it’s 2:45p.m. Shows never start on time, and there are always lines to get in so I try not to show up too early. Even so I head into the line, and wait for 30 minutes.

The line is packed with fashionable ladies wearing ridiculous clothes considering how cold it is outside. Very few people talk. Most are on their phones ferociously scrolling through instagram feeds or pretending to write a very important email. I stand there with a smile and a hello for anyone who looks up, and wonder why we are all waiting in this line. Is it even worth it?

Finally at 3:15p.m. they let us climb several flights of stairs before being checked again to ensure we have our tickets, and are ushered to our seats.

The runway is covered in plastic, and there is a swirl of energy. The photographers pit is exploding with photographers, and ladies file in, give cheek kisses to friends, and anxiously find their seats, and then we all just wait.

You know the show is about to start when security peels the plastic off of the perfectly white — and completely slippery — runway. I always feel scared for the models because I know I would fall flat on my face tromping down that runway in stiletto heels.

The lights go black, and someone from the pit yells for the ladies on the front row to uncross their legs. This happens at every show, because if legs are crossed then pointy heels are on the edges of all the photographers pictures. (I know because I’ve shot runway over a dozen times and have had the pleasure of photo-shopping out those expensive yet very annoying shoes).

All of a sudden the stage lights go up, music blasts, and the first model walks down the runway.

It’s magical.

The camera shutters click rhythmically and like it’s a choreographed dance with each new look bloggers and editors hold up their phones to try and get a shot for instagram.

Most shows are over in ten minutes, and before you can take a breathe the room is in chaos again, and everyone runs out like they’re escaping a fire to catch the next show.

I sit in my seat quietly packing up my camera while there is a hurricane of movement around me, and even though I have been apart of Fashion Week for 6 years now I wonder is the madness worth it?
Why does this matter?

Why do I still come back season after season?

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And I realize that I don’t come because of the shows. I come because of what they represent.

They represent commitment. They reveal the designer’s discipline to create.
Season after season the creative creates.
These designers along with their teams of hair and make-up artists, photographers, models, and stylists are some of the most hard working people I’ve encountered.

They are out-of-their-mind committed to creating art with persistence and excellence.

And those people are inspiring. Those are the types of people I want to be around.

The big moment isn’t the show; it’s the midnight runs to the fabric store, the last minute manicure for the model that was late, it’s the sketches on the 7:00 a.m. subway of a jacket for next season.

Same with athletes and anyone really who is committed to excellence in their craft. The big moment for the Olympian really isn’t the gold medal; it’s the 5:00 a.m. workouts, the eating healthy when no one else around her is, it’s showing up and giving her all at practice when the only place she wants to be is in bed.

So fashion week for me is so much more than fashion. It’s a twice a year reminder of what it looks like to create day in and day out. It challenges me to hone my craft.

To be excellent is to be disciplined and intentionally make movement towards my goals.

Because no one else is going to go do that for me.

Fashion Week matters to me because each person is committed to creating.

And creative people create with resolve and purpose and call forth excellence from anyone they come in contact with.

I think those are the types of people that are going to do big things in their lives and in the world.

XO,

Kat

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All photos by me:  Kat Harris of:  Kate Spade | Alice + Olivia | Herve Leger

Beauty Is ... / Inspiration / News

Beauty Is…Vision

02.11.15

Beauty Is…Vision |  How to Set Clear Goals for Yourself

I’ve been talking a lot about goal setting this 2015 + I’m so excited to be sharing our first video post for AOL! If you’re anything like me, then you’re a multi-tasker.  We are multi-faceted beings, which is amazing, but can also mean as women we are wearing a lot of hats at once.  From leader, to mogul, to mother, to wife, to sister, to daughter, to friend, to mentor, to you name it, and in each of those spheres in our lives there are a multitude of dreams and goals that we long to achieve and believe that we were destined to attain.  It is my firm belief that before you can make any movement in your life you need to know where you are going.

    1. Vision:  Simon Sinek says people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do what you do.  There must be a deeper sense of purpose, an overarching theme that transcends your life.  This vision will act as a plumb line to all you do.  Once you know your vision for yourself and for the world, you can funnel all of your other goals, dreams, tasks, to-do’s through that lens.
      • For example:  My vision is to create a culture where women know that their worth, value, identity and beauty.  In all that I do, whether it’s photography, my blog, writing, speaking, sitting on the subway, talking to my banker, I want to fill the atmosphere with encouragement and empowerment to the people around me that they matter.  Now that I am clear on the deeper goal in my life; it acts as guidepost for everything else I’m involved in.
      • So take a few minutes (don’t worry I’ll be here when you get back) + journal about YOUR WHY.  Why do you what you do?  Looking back on your life 50 years from now, what legacy will you want to leave this world?  What message to you want to send to the next generation?
    2. Clarity:  Now that you know your point Z, let’s start getting specific.  A lot of times people know where they want to go, but because it seems so far away it seems unattainable.  We must lessen that gap, by creating daily goals to keep us in check.
      • Take 10 minutes and write down 10 goals you want to achieve + by when + for each goal write at least 10 specific goals underneath with deadlines.
    3. Accountability:  We were never meant to do life on our own.  My belief is that creativity begets creativity.  Intentionally I surround myself with other creatives with similar passion + with drive + amibition.  Seeing other people chase their dreams inspires me even more to chase mine. 
      • For example, every other week I meet with a group of creatives from 8:30-9:30a.m. and we talk about our goals from the time before, updates, set goals for the next week + then in-between meetings we encourage one another.  I cannot tell you how beneficial this has been not only for my business but so many other areas of my life.
    4. Acknowledge Fear.  What can happen when we start chasing our dreams is all of our fears and insecurities rise up to the surface screaming.  You’re not good enough.  You don’t have what it takes.  You’re a quitter.  Why would so-and-so hire you…you don’t have the portfolio.  Don’t pretend the fear isn’t there, acknowledge, say thank you for visiting, and move on.  It is my belief that the existence of fear + resistance in our lives when we are chasing our dreams acts as further proof that I am on the right track.  Dream chasing is vulnerable, of course you’re going to feel fearful at times, but we get the choice to not let it run our lives anymore.
    5. Just Keep Moving.  This may be the most important thing to remember + to keep doing.  You gotta keep taking one step forward.  It may seem like it’s just the tiniest baby step ever, but trust me a lot of little yes’s over a long period of time can create a tidal wave of movement in your life.  What distinguishes the committed creative from the apathetic is merely movement.  Be committed no matter what to make steps forward.  You’ll probably experience a lot of fear and resistance.

    Your dreams matter.

    Your voice in this world matters.

    You have talent and potential + a journey that no one else in this universe has.

    The world needs you.  We need each other.  Let’s do this!

    XO,

    Kat